Tempts and Trolls
I've had a day filled with T's: the Taiwan national day parade in
Chinatown, the Temptations at Taste of DC, and a troll attacking themail subscribers. The
parade and Motown memories were great fun; the troll wasn't. For those of you who aren't
Internet veterans, the concepts of trolling and flaming may be new, and those of you who
are veterans may not have thought about them for a few years. In the prehistoric days of
the net, when newsgroups and E-mail lists were first becoming widely popular, some mildly
disturbed surfers got their fun from sending hostile, threatening, or obscene messages to
the lists. The perpetrators of these unfunny attacks were called trolls, and their
messages were called flames. Flaming got so bad on some lists that they were actually
discontinued; an E-mail list about cats was one of the famous victims of a group of
trollers who selected it seemingly at random.
I apologize to members of themail who got these hostile messages. Trolling
is fairly rare today, compared with a few years ago. But when and if it happens to you,
the best defense is to ignore the flames and not to reply to them. Trolling isn't any fun
if it doesn't provoke an outraged reaction, and silence is a good fire extinguisher. If
the flaming continues, and if you find the messages really objectionable, report them to
the troll's Internet service provider. In the meantime, if the flames upset you, put on a
Temptations album. That'll cheer you up.
I'm very surprised that no one commented, either positively or negatively,
on the premiere episode of The District. Speaking of crime in DC, as I edit
this issue of themail I'm watching Charlie Chan in the Secret Service, also
set in Washington, in which the following exchange occurs: Mrs. Hargue, a suspect, says,
Murder? People in Washington don't go about murdering, to which Charlie Chan
replies, "Evidently, few present have forgotten rules."
NE Building Project Giant/Kmart/Home Depot
S. Donna Hugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
[An open letter to Councilmembers:] I am a long time DC resident, and a 20
year resident of Ward 5; I commute to and from work on the roads in the exact area of the
newly designated wonderful [commercial] opportunity to wit, Brentwood
Road. While I remain cautiously joyous about these opportunities, I am and will continue
to be EXTREMELY concerned about the traffic in this area. It is already a problem area due
to the tiny Brentwood shopping center and the vehicle impound lot; I pledge to you right
now that I will follow and be vocal about the plans for this area. And oh, by the way . .
. when will the citizenry hear about the plans?
Quadrangle and The WestPark, 2130 P Street, N.W.
Ann Van Aken, email@example.com
Robert Gladstone is the proud founder and CEO of Quadrangle, which manages
the apartment community of The WestPark at 2130 P Street, N.W., albeit with mystifying
practices. During the past year, many issues have been raised, and only after much hemming
and hawing has Quadrangle grudgingly resolved some and ignored others completely while
plying their trade. Quadrangle was questioned about the illegal practice of charging a
surcharge for anyone who requested a short-term lease of three months; a
surcharge that continued for another seventeen months without respite. With no
legal way out of it, Quadrangle reluctantly refunded the money after it was brought to
In 1998, the FCC ruled that satellite dishes were allowed in apartment
communities as long as they were not mounted to common areas. Despite this ruling (which
was not discovered until late 1999 by a resident), satellite dishes were not allowed on
the balconies at The WestPark, even though the terms of the lease covers the entire
apartment, including the balcony. When this FCC ruling was presented to Quadrangle,
Quadrangle responded with an attempt to make its own policy regarding satellite dishes.
When confronted directly by personnel from the FCC in response to a resident's inquiry,
Quadrangle backed down and allowed satellite dishes, but on the condition that management
had to approve professional installation.
Quadrangle also reverses decisions concerning security deposits at its
whim. One resident, who after vacating an apartment was told that there was damage and
repairs would be deducted from the security deposit, and who also protested this reprisal
vigorously, was refunded the entire security deposit with no explanation. This resident is
having trouble gaining access to a new apartment because Quadrangle reports that the
resident damaged the apartment, despite having refunded the entire security deposit!
Quadrangle should be a leader in the community but alas! it falls mightily short
and lacks the redeeming qualities never found in a corporation anyway. With all the hoopla
about Robert Gladstone's developments in the Washington, D.C., area, not to mention his
starring role in the powerful Federal City Council, shouldn't there be more of an
accounting on Quadrangle's part?
Nancy Fiedler, NFiedler@aol.com
Last Thursday, readers of the Washington Post Metro section
learned that two large property management companies, Borger Management and William
Calormiris Investment Corp., were fined $540, 000 for failing to warn tenants about the
presence of lead-based paint in their units. What the Post did not cover,
however, was how two companies affiliated with Quadrangle Development, the huge and
powerful creation of The Federal City Council's Robert Gladstone, managed to walk away
from fines of almost $600,000 each.
A provision of the 1992 law requiring sellers and landlords of housing
built after 1975 to disclose the presence of lead-based paint to buyers and/or tenants
allows a landlord to self disclose to the EPA and thus avoid any fines as long
as the disclosure is made before anyone else reports the violation. 2130 P Associates and
QDC Property Management, Inc., sat for years on a study which revealed the presence of the
paint in individual units and common areas of The Westpark, at 2130 P St., NW. In fact,
they commissioned a second, slightly less damning study, but failed to notify the EPA
until October 22, 1999, shortly after a tenant association formed on October 9, 1999.
Within that same time frame, another Quadrangle affiliate worked with the
EPA and actually received an award for good environmental practices. Quadrangle and its
affiliates have had many prestigious law firms on retainer, and Quadrangle has an in-house
legal staff, including Mr. Gladstone's daughter-in-law, Elise Rabekoff, Quadrangle's
General Counsel. Robert Gladstone has undergraduate degrees in architecture and
engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2130 P St. was built by Mr.
Gladstone. With this wealth of scientific, legal, and property management expertise,
Quadrangle's claims of total ignorance of the EPA's lead-based paint rules seem odd,
particularly since on- and off-line publications for the housing industry were flooded
with articles explaining a landlord's obligation to disclose to tenants.
Of course, this is not the first time QDC has displayed a dewy-eyed
innocence of the regulatory process. In 1997, at a time when balconies were collapsing all
over the D.C. area with disastrous results, QDC undertook a massive balcony repair project
at 2130 P St. with no permit whatsoever. In that instance, the DCRA Office of Adjudication
found QDC liable and stated that, It is additionally inconceivable to the Attorney
Examiner that neither the Respondent nor the contractor knew that a permit was
How to Fix Your High School
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
That's the title of a six-page article in the 9 October issue of U.S.
News and World Report. The article describes the success in rescuing five different
high schools, including some in inner city locations. Each of these schools has been
successful in getting great performance from their students and each has used a variety of
different techniques and processes to result in those successes. One of the few common
themes in these disparate schools is that they break the school into smaller parts called
learning communities. Teachers, in some of the schools act as counselors and meet very
regularly, one-on-one, with each of the 20 students that they counsel. In one of the
schools an adult is assigned to each student to act as a mentor.
The other most common theme (save for the school that has assigned adult
mentors) is that there is considerable parent involvement in the educational process. That
alone makes an incredible difference, and is probably the hardest thing to replace in the
lowest performing schools here in the District. The cultural bias that does not recognize
the importance of a good education precludes and obviates many efforts to achieve a good
learning environment in many of the schools in D.C. I have not figured out just how to
change this cultural bias that demeans a good education, and my only suggestion is to
follow the example of the school that has found adult mentors for each of the students in
[This article and links to related articles from US News and World
Report are posted at
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/highschl/highschool.htm. Gary Imhoff]
Make Money at Home with a Computer
E. James Lieberman, email@example.com
Advertising posters from cash888.com--make money at home with a
computer are popping out annoyingly. Does anyone know who these people are and what
right they have to visually pollute our streets?
Trick-or-Treating in DC?
Joan Eisenstodt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Does anyone know what the date/time is for official neighborhood
trick-or-treating in the District?
Whats in a Name?
Steph Not the REAL steph Faul, email@example.com
For those friends who have expressed privacy concerns about signing up for
a grocery store discount card: there is no requirement that you use your real name or
address. Or anybody's real name or address for that matter. Have some fun with it! Get a
card for Alferd Packer or Hannibal Lecter, or shop with the stars by signing up as Mae
West, Dorothy Lamour, or Kingsley Kong. Pay with cash and they'll never know it was you
who bought a bunch of bananas and three bottles of Nair.
The Fountain of Youth
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress on the new fountain at the entrance of the AU Law School Building
(48th Street and Massachusetts Avenue) is plodding along with about 70% of that work
completed. The rest of the renovation of the front of the building, which includes a plaza
with tables and chairs for the smokers and eaters, is completed. Landscaping is in, except
for the fountain area, and that looks quite nice. Can't wait for the first eruption of the
fountain so that I can throw my three coins in.
No Need to Cross the River for Hardware!
Jerry A. McCoy, Silver Spring Historical Society, email@example.com
I'd like to suggest to Mr. Barron that instead of driving 15.3 miles from
his Spring Valley-area home to Lowes in Alexandria (or to anyone else living in upper NW
DC who needs to purchase hardware), that he can drive less than half that distance (6.8
miles) to the recently opened Strosniders Hardware Store in downtown Silver Spring (815
Wayne Avenue). Plenty of free parking and a nice pastoral drive across Rock Creek Park.
Check the Silver Spring Historical Society web site for photographs of the Grand Opening: http://www.homestead.com/silverspringhistory/hardware.html.
John Olinger, North Lincoln Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to Paul Penniman's note on postal service, we had similar
problems with mail delivery on our block for a decade at least. Typically, we got no mail
for a number of days and then got tons of mail on one day, often we got two or three
issues of a weekly paper at once, or we got our mail and the mail of the next three or
four houses on the block. Calls to the post office yielded no results, just feeble
explanations: no one wants your route, or you wouldn't believe the
people I have to supervise, some of them can't read. Happily a little over a year
ago, when I called the main number for DC, I was referred to a postal ombudsman. Since she
got on the case, mail delivery has improved significantly. We still have periodic
problems, but they are rare and, after a phone call to the ombudsman, things are
rectified. It is a great improvement. I wish there were such a position in DC government,
which I find to be as befogged as before.
Not So Thrifty or Trusty Car Rental
Sharon Cochran, email@example.com
I have to echo David Sobelsons frustrating and expensive experience with
the Thrifty Car Rental at 12th and K Street, NW. I didn't even want a cassette deck, just
a compact car. Last summer, I had made advance reservations for a compact car. When I got
to the rental lot, I was told that the only car that they had left was this pocked marked
gray car that looked like it had spent the week in Gaza. It even had a missing hub cap. Of
course you don't see this car until after you have spent an hour waiting in line and
filling out the forms. When I complained, I was told that the car was actually an upgrade
and to take it or leave it. I travel a lot for my job and rent cars often. This is not
typical behavior for rental car companies. I have not gone back to the 12th and K Street
Just Say Yes to Censorship?
M Treistman, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am completely surprised by several responses to the posting of Smith's
abrasive missive. (See October 4.) Kudos to Gary for posting it, especially as it was
focused against his commentary. To those who feel that themail has sunk to a new low or
that their time was wasted, I would remind them of two things. First, the First Amendment;
and its loosely interpreted corollary that if you don't like what someone else has to
say/write then don't listen/read. Second, a quote from Oliver Wendell Homes, We
should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expressions of opinions we
Successful farmers keep very close tabs on where their costs go compared
to the yields they get, and choose their crops and tailor their parcels accordingly. If DC
was the Williams Farm it would have to consider the productivity of its
fields and its livestock, decide what kind of agribusiness it
wants to be in, and join a co-op to enhance success. DC faces any number of economic
challenges, but it surely isn't clear it's headed for a ubumper crop. These
challenges are developed and spelled out in the October update of the NARPAC web site at http://www.narpac.org. Civil city slickers welcome.
The Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians will host a
tour of historic Alexandria by William Seale, historian and specialist in historic
restoration, on Sunday, October 15, at 1:00 p.m. For more information on reservations and
cost, please call 332-2446 during office hours.
Fall Clothing Sale at Ingleside Presbyterian
Nicholas Kesari, ckesari1@aol
On Saturday, October 15, we will be having our fall clothing sale from 9
a.m. to 3 p.m. We have many beautiful clothes for men, women, and children, including some
designer clothes. Come early for the best selection. Ingleside at Rock Creek, 3050
Military Road N.W.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Good Home Sought for Shelving Unit
Sid Booth, SidBooth1@aol.com
A Danish Modern shelving unit which has provided us decades of useful
service is available for a ridiculously low cost to someone who will provide an
appreciative home environment for this old family friend. The unit was purchased new from
Scan Furniture well before the turn of the millennium. The unit consists of two handsome,
slender but sturdy black metal support poles, nine-feet long, matching brackets and shelf
hardware, and three (four if I can find it) three-foot wide teak-trimmed wooden shelves.
Best offer to SidBooth1@aol.com or call 483-5409
before 9 pm.
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